Reel Life in Rural New Zealand
Image: Pacific Magazine 9 (1955).
Listing details: Reel Life in Rural New Zealand screening programme
When: 7pm, Fri 8, Sat 9 & Thurs 14 November. Also 4.30pm Sat 9 November.
Where: The New Zealand Film Archive, 84 Taranaki St, Wellington
Ticket price: $8 general admission / $6 concession
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Reel Life in Rural New Zealand to Screen in Wellington
Shearing gangs, kiwi inventions dating back to 1913, and some of the unique rituals of country life are showcased in this programme of films that spans the 20th century. Reel Life in Rural New Zealand screened in woolsheds in the Hawke’s Bay, Tararua and Wairarapa regions in March 2013, and now Wellington residents have a change to experience NZ’s farming history on screen.
The 75 minute programme is a compilation of 20 short films, showcasing stories of rural life, from Hawke’s Bay to Wairarapa. These include Broad Acres: A New Zealand Sheep Station (1940), a dramatised documentary centring around city girl who visits a family of Hawke’s Bay sheep farmers, as well as newsreel and documentary footage showing returned servicemen being trained as farmers near Masterton in 1945, the Puketapu Valley Settlers in 1952, and farming families living in Tinui in 1947 and Te Maire in 1960.
The famous topiary garden at Neuman, near Eketahuna, also features. Created by farmer John Cooper, the garden was a popular destination for tourists in the 1930s, who came to see couches, animals, a pianist playing the piano, and many more impressive topiary works.
Items on shearing will be shown - including a film of the 1961 Golden Shears, which features Godfrey and Ivan Bowen.
Other films showcase inventions for the farm and home. Among these are the new 1953 master comb, the first electric tractor and the Wenham’s Outlaw pushmower (which could cut through 4” bolts without problem). Percy Fisher’s monoplane is documented lifting off (momentarily) into the Wairarapa sky in 1913, and MacEwan’s “flying banana” pump cleans the cowshed and gives joyrides to the kids.
The silent films on the programme are presented along with an inventive recorded soundtrack composed and performed by Wellington musician Bill Hickman and friends.
The films are all crafted with classic New Zealand ingenuity, in the No.8 fencing wire tradition.
Reel Life in Rural New Zealand will screen at 7pm, Friday 8, Saturday 9 and Thursday 14 November. Also 4.30pm Saturday 9 November. At the Film Archive, 84 Taranaki St, Wellington.